Co-accused in 2020 slaying involved with ‘very controlling’ partner: witness
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/06/2022 (295 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg woman accused in the homicide of a man whose charred remains were found in Portage la Prairie was unaware of the slaying at the hands of her abusive boyfriend and others, court was told.
Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe, 27, was killed in an Alfred Avenue home in June 2020, before his body was burned and partially buried on the edge of a Manitoba field.
Chelsea O’Hanley, 26, is on trial for first-degree murder, indignity to human remains and accessory to murder after the fact. The Crown will be seeking a conviction of second-degree murder, court has heard.
In March, O’Hanley’s former boyfriend Jonathan Bradley Narvey, 27, and Kyle Evan Sinkovits, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Co-accused Bobbi Lynn Hall, 28, pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after the fact. They are awaiting sentencing.
O’Hanley testified she was unaware of the homicide with which she’s charged, was unaware Reimer-Wiebe’s body was in her car and unaware it was burned in Portage, as well as testifying she had been abused by Narvey.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ken Champagne heard evidence from long-time friends of O’Hanley’s before defence lawyer Scott Newman closed his case Thursday.
Nicole Chornoby, who met O’Hanley about a decade ago, when she brought her children to the daycare the accused worked at, testified O’Hanley’s demeanour changed as her relationship with Narvey went on, from very outspoken to that of an abused woman.
“I was scared of him, personally,” Chornoby said Thursday of Narvey, noting part of her concern was due to his methamphetamine use. “He became very controlling over Chelsea.”
Chornoby, who described her and the accused as nearly inseparable prior to the relationship, said Narvey was demanding of O’Hanley’s time and needed to know her location and who she was with, making her leave if a man was present.
“The way that he treated her, it brought back memories of my own experience,” Chornoby said, referring to domestic abuse.
Chornoby said she could recall instances where O’Hanley told her Narvey had abused her, including once texting her a photograph of a red mark on her face. She also saw bruising on her arms, which Chornoby admitted under cross examination could’ve been due to her work with at-risk children, rather than domestic abuse.
The pair’s friendship became distant sometime in 2019, after Narvey had propositioned Chornoby for sex, she testified. The friend testified O’Hanley told her boyfriend said the opposite had occurred, and sided with Narvey. The friends eventually reconciled following her arrest and the birth of O’Hanley’s child.
A friend of O’Hanley’s for seven years and former co-worker at a grocery store, Yrresh Francisco, testified Wednesday she knew Narvey to be quick to anger over “the smallest things.”
Francisco also testified O’Hanley told her Narvey had hit her and smashed her car window at her graduation party in June 2019.
The Crown and defence will make closing arguments in the four-week trial Friday. Champagne will issue his decision at a later date.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.